The Vision that Started it All
Growing up in South Dakota, Mack brothers Allan and Dale lived to hunt, shoot, and spend all their time outdoors. It seemed only natural they would turn their love of the outdoors into careers in the firearms industry. They both worked for Dakota Arms, which is owned by Remington, for over eight years. During their time at Dakota Arms, Dale and Allan discussed going into business for themselves, and in 1997, the West River Rifle Company in Sturgis, SD was born.
Dale & Allan Mack working ShotShow 2014 in Las Vegas, NV
Dale kept his full time job while Allan went headfirst into getting the business up and running and starting production. Within one year, Dale was able to quit working for someone else and devoted himself to working alongside Allan full time. The first two years were difficult, as with many start ups, although their business grew every year.
The first year the Mack brothers saw an increase of 25% growth, the second year 50%, and after four years they had to move from a 2,300 sq. ft. building into a 14,000 sq. ft. one. It seemed as if their dream had taken on a life of its own, and from that point on, Dale and Allan never looked back. They recently added an additional 8,000 sq feet and an underground shooting range for research and testing.
Manufacturing the Best for the Best
Mack Brothers has manufactured for a wide range of customers. They manufacture firearms for Badger Ordinance, GA Precision, and other sellers. Their suppressor line develops parts for Dakota Silencers and the Mack Brothers line is a subcontractor for parts which are supplied to police departments, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marines, and the FBI.
Producing such a wide variety of firearms takes a lot of space, which is why their production facility is so large. Producing precision firearms and components takes a lot of hard work, time, dedication, and effort. Dale and Allan begin with a CAD model of what they think will work. The design is then manufactured using state of the art CNC machines. When the prototype is ready, Dale and Allan will take the firearm or part out and test it over and over again. If there are any issues or if they think they can make it better, they go back to the drawing board and start all over again. They follow this procedure until they get the exact firearm or component they’re looking for. This only happens when the product meets all of their stringent requirements. Then, and only then, do they proceed with manufacturing it for others.
The Current Political Climate
Gun control has been a hot topic the last five or six years and all dealers and manufactures have their concerns, and rightly so.
Dale Mack testing in their underground shooting range below their facility
Although sales peaked several years ago when there was once again talk about banning certain firearms, Allan said that due to his market they did see growth but not as much as some other businesses did. Although there was a sharp rise in the AR15 market, however, he says, he would forego any additional profits to keep the stability of gun ownership safe. Allan believes that any discussion on gun control has the potential of leading to enactment, which is detrimental to the industry overall, as well as to American citizens in general. As with most manufacturers, what’s going on politically is something they pay attention to because gun control can greatly impact their livelihood.
So what would the Mack brothers be doing if they had to do something else? Allan would probably be in engineering while Dale would most likely work in the home improvement and renovation field. That is, if they couldn’t hunt professionally.
Titanium tubes for silencers – 1,000 are done per batch. Varminter 3.0
Fighting the Hollywood Stigma
Although business had been booming since they entered the suppressor market, there was still a stigma that held this division of the company back. Suppressors are used as a safety precaution, but their use in Hollywood blockbusters, such as The Professional or No Country for Old Men leaves viewers with another impression. Many people think suppressors are only used by men who like to quietly slip in a room and commit murder, only to walk away unnoticed.
Whether target shooting for fun or hunting varmints, using a suppressor to quiet the noise can help to reduce hearing loss. Even those who wear ear protection and take it off after shooting can be surprised by a shot near them they weren’t expecting, causing ear damage. Mack Brothers produce over a dozen different silencer models, like the Varminter 3.0 Silencer, that help to preserve the integrity of the ear drum and prevent hearing loss over time.
Now that suppressors are finally being seen more as a safety device and not as a Hollywood infused notion of how to get away with murder, growth in this section looks promising. Only a few years ago the NFA background check on these Class III devices was one year. That has now been decreased to only three months, which is good news for consumers as well as manufacturers. With further education on the true benefits of suppressors, it would only make sense that more and more shooting enthusiasts would look into purchasing one. As for the firearms business, it remains steady and increases during talk of banning guns in general, banning specific models, and even banning magazines. The increase in business is due to public fear of having gun rights taken away.
Mack Brothers, Sturgis, SD got its start with the vision of two brothers who love everything outdoors. Building the company from the ground up with just two employees, they have expanded to where they now employ more than 20 people. They have infused millions into their business in an effort to keep producing the highest quality products in a field they have devoted their lives to, and the quality of their products is second to none.
Dale & Allan Mack
3560 Mayer Ave.
Sturgis, SD 57785